This phrase has been used in marketing for years. In the 1920’s it was first used
commercially to sell the Victor Radio. Recently, it has become to mean something we
really don’t want to experience again: an overly talkative student or colleague who
frequently violates the TMI sharing rule; a lemon of a car you can’t afford to replace; an
emotion that surfaces at all the wrong times. In this season when too many things
demand our attention and the difference between giving and buying is pretty smudged,
it is worthwhile to call attention to a gift that does keep giving: curiosity.
Last year I stumbled upon a website called “The Kids Should See This.” I signed
up. Every week I receive several little videos or vignettes that reveal something totally
cool. Once it was a clip from a Charlie Chaplin movie; another time it was a video in
real time of a monarch caterpillar changing into a chrysalis. Just fascinating things in
our world that make you go “WOW!” No lessons, no morals to live by - just really cool
stuff. I would share them occasionally, but didn’t really think of them as an important
learning tool. After all, everything we do has to have a purpose, right?
Growth Mindset is the current favorite thing in pop culture and education. And I
believe that it is imperative that we all try to have one and teach it to our kids. But
shouldn’t we also try to instill a wonder and curiosity about our world? In my mind,
those two concepts go hand in hand. To have a curiosity about something will cause
one to grow.
Remember Madeline Hunter’s anticipatory set? Put a spin on it and show your
students something fantastic and exciting just for the heck of it! Show them an amazing
animal doing something in slow-motion or a painting by Cinta Vidal. Get your students
to wonder how something happens or how someone could possibly create such a
painting and why. I started to show my students things that piqued my curiosity at the
end of our group times. We look at it together for a couple minutes, and they leave our
lessons curious and talking about what we had just experienced together.
We know a lot about gifted kids and try really hard to meet their academic
challenges and social needs. Yet, I often feel that what needs fuelling is a strong
sense of curiosity. That will serve them for the rest of their lives.